Bassel El-Rayes, M.D.

The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB is pleased to announce that Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., will become deputy director, effective March 1.

Jeanette Anglin, left, stands with Melanie Little, executive director of YouthBuild in Eufaula, Alabama. Anglin partners with the group to present cancer awareness information. (Photo submitted)

Jeanette Anglin is always looking for opportunities to talk to her neighbors about cancer awareness and screening options. Her directory of community partners, residents and former colleagues seems endless.

So when Anglin was given the task to enroll women in a program to increase cervical cancer screening and human papillomavirus, or HPV, testing, the Barbour County, Alabama, community outreach coordinator for the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB turned to her established list, in addition to some savvy research, to find participants.

Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition

For decades, the Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB has partnered with the Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition to educate communities about cancer and ensure access to screening and treatment options. Through this partnership, the office and the coalition have worked to pool their resources and bolster their outreach efforts with the goal of reducing the impact and burden of cancer for the people of Alabama.

The Office of Community Outreach & Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB continues to provide community-engaged research and support for multiple projects that seek to better understand and enhance cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship. The office is currently assisting two new community-engaged research projects.

Pearlette Edwards, coordinator for Bullock County, Alabama, gets the crowd motivated and moving during a Richard Simmons-styled "Sweating to the Oldies" stretch break at the OCOE’s Community Dissemination Institute 2021 at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center in Florence, Alabama, Nov. 14-16. (Photo by Wynter Byrd)

Health advocates, researchers and community partners converged for three days of networking, information sharing and empowerment at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach & Engagement Community Dissemination Institute 2021, Nov. 14-16 in Florence, Alabama.

OCOE Anniversary Wordmark

Advocates for lung cancer awareness and screening continued their work into the final hours of the formal program that took them to seven counties around Alabama. The Alabama Lung Cancer Awareness, Screening and Education project, or ALCASE, has officially concluded, yet the commitment to continue education and outreach efforts regarding lung cancer screening remains strong.

OCOE Anniversary Wordmark

Not even the constraints of social distancing and virtual meetings were strong enough to slow progress at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach & Engagement in 2021. The addition of new team members, partners, projects and the completion of other major initiatives made this year among one the most robust for Outreach and Engagement.

Raquel Smith (Photo submitted)

Raquel Smith never imagined becoming a breast cancer education and awareness advocate. Still, it was Smith’s own breast cancer diagnosis that inspired her life’s mission to help other women.

The Pink Topps Resource and Wellness Center in Bessemer, Alabama, is a nonprofit breast cancer advocacy organization, founded by Smith, that focuses on saving and recycling plastic, which is then donated to recycling centers in exchange for donations to the Bessemer-based nonprofit. Through Pink Topps, Smith aims to promote early detection, support during treatment and higher self-esteem for breast cancer patients and survivors, while also raising awareness about the various ways that the disease affects younger adults.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center

Lauren Roberts was surrounded by a seemingly endless supply of pink bags as she stood in the back office of the 134-year-old Victorian mansion in Birmingham’s Southside. The gifts were soon set for delivery. For most of the people receiving them, it would be their first introduction to the Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center.

“These are the bags that we give to all the doctors’ offices,” said Roberts, Forge’s executive director. “We are here from day one of a breast cancer diagnosis through the rest of their lives, and for their caregivers, family and loved ones too.”

The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center recently awarded six projects a total of $960,000 in research grants through its O’Neal Invests program. O’Neal Invests supports nascent, paradigm-shifting cancer research proposed by O’Neal Cancer Center investigators. These are novel ideas with considerable promise and potential impact in the field of cancer care, as determined by a peer-reviewed panel of experts.